DHS recently investigated the neglect of an elderly Enid widow, who lives alone and is failing fast. A judge named her Enid grandson her guardian, though the woman wanted her son in Oklahoma City.
After her grandson was suspected of embezzling from her, the judge named her Enid granddaughter guardian. But she failed to pick up her grandmother’s medications and take her to doctor appointments, so the judge appointed an Enid bank. Now, the woman’s son regularly drives up from Oklahoma City to chauffer and care for her, and submits bills to the bank for payment.
Such scenarios can be avoided if families plan for long-term care, including appointing someone to handle financial affairs and make medical decisions, said Jerry Shiles, an estate planning attorney with Parman and Easterday in Oklahoma City.
A guardianship case can cost $3,500 to $4,000, plus some $1,700 annually because guardians are required to come back to court every year to submit a plan of care and a detailed financial accounting, Shiles said. "It’s just wasted money,” he said.
Shiles urges families to plan ahead for long-term care, including signing a financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney. The cost for the two legal documents is about $350, Shiles said. "Without them, you’ll spend 10 times that, not to mention heartache,” he said.
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Long-Term Family Planning Puts Life, Property in Order